Archive for December, 2010

Posted on 14th December 2010

grow | beans

By MEREDITH KIRTON

growing beans on a trellis

Got a fence?  2 metres of beans growing along it could feed your family all summer, and the kids will love going outside with a basket to cut their own greens for dinner, or just nibble on raw beans as they past.  If you can’t find a fence, no probs, you can grow dwarf beans in the garden in rows.

Both runner types and dwarf types can also be grown in tubs too, though obviously the taller varieties will need a tall tripod about 1.8m is ideal, and they are actually very pretty too, with some purple (‘Purple King’ and ‘Purple Queen’), or yellow (‘Bountiful Butter’) podded varieties available. These are all frost tender, and should only be sown after all chance of late cold snaps are gone.

If you live in a colder climate, then Perennial beans, known as runners, can also be grown. These are cut back each autumn then reshoot in spring from their crown.  The two best known ones are ‘Scarlet Runner’, which has beautiful red blooms, and ‘Borlotti’ which has speckled red beds.  These are both the sorts of beans that need slow cooking to be edible, like kidney beans ‘Canellini’.

Whatever you settle on, beans like an enriched soil with lots of added compost to thrive.  They also love regular watering, hate the wind and dislike being overfed, as they will actually make their own nitrogen fertiliser with their specialised roots.  They produce more and more beans the more you pick, so harvest them continually every 4 days of so to keep the plants productive, and be careful not to damage the bush, which is quite easily done, when you harvest by always using a knife of scissors, to reap your bounty.  Sow seeds now, and you’ll be munching away in 10 weeks time.

baby bean

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under grow
Posted on 14th December 2010

harvest | beans

By MANDY SINCLAIR

beans recipe

Storage:
Beans should be firm, unblemished and smooth. Store refrigerated in a clip lock bag for up to 5 days.

What to do with glut

  • Freeze:

Blanch beans in a large saucepan of boiling water for 3 mins. Drain and refresh under cold water. Pack into clip-lock bags and freeze for up to 6 weeks.

  • Preserve:

pickled bean recipe

Pickled mixed beans

400g green beans, trimmed, blanched
400g yellow beans, trimmed, blanched
4 cups white vinegar
½ cup white sugar
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
2 small red chillies, chopped
1 tsp black peppercorns
¼ cup olive oil

1. Stand beans upright in sterilized jars, packing tightly.
2. Place vinegar, sugar, garlic, bay leaves, chilli, peppercorns and 4 cups of water in a large saucepan. Bring to boil. Pour over beans to completely cover. Drizzle over a little oil and seal.
3. Turn jars upside down every 30 mins or so, until cool. Store in a cool, dark place for 8 weeks before using. Refrigerate once opened.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under harvest
Posted on 14th December 2010

cook | beans

By MANDY SINCLAIR

beans recipe

Steamed beans with hazelnut & lemon butter

50g butter
175g yellow beans
175g green beans
½ cup hazelnuts, chopped
finely grated rind of 1 lemon

1. Melt butter in a large frying pan on medium heat. Add beans and cook, tossing regularly for 5 mins, until tender. Add hazelnuts and lemon rind and cook for another 2 mins.
2. Serve with grilled meat or chicken

Serves 4


tip ….
Use any variety of beans you prefer, butter, green, flat beans or broad beans.


try this ….
Bean, beetroot and goats cheese salad
Blanch 200g green beans and cut into 4cm lengths. Arrange on a platter with 100g baby rocket, drained 400g can baby beets and 100g crumbled goats cheese. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and season well.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under cook
Posted on 1st December 2010

grow | plums

By MEREDITH KIRTON

Plums growing on tree

Plums are succulent, juicy fruit ideal for picking and eating, bottling, drying and making into jams and sauces.  Their spring blossom makes them a particularly delightful tree for the home garden, especially seeing they are also the perfect size, normally only growing 4m x 4m.

Plums come in two main types, Japanese and European.  The Japanese Plums (Prunus salicina) is one of the better stone fruits for warmer and coastal areas, and comes in many delicious cultivars such as blood plums and yellow fleshed plums.  The European plum needs a winter chill.

Most types need cross pollination, so you’ll either need to buy a multigrafted plant, put more than one tree in or be very careful choosing the right cultivar. The plum called ‘Santa Rosa’ is partially self fertile.  Also self fertile, but needing a winter chill, is the European plum variety ‘Damson’.  Prunes are actually dried fruits from a variety called d’Agen.

To grow plums, make sure you have an open, sunny, well drained spot. Prune them to an open vase shape to increase the sunlight exposure and there fruit production, or train them onto a frame as a beautiful espalier.  Watch for birds and net as needed.  You’ll also need to keep fruit fly at bay with traps and vigilance.

For a range of superb heirloom plums, check out Borry’s collection in Orange at the Vineyard and Orchard Borrodell on the Mount. Phone 02 6365 3425 or email info@borrodell.com.au

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under grow
Posted on 1st December 2010

harvest | plums

By MANDY SINCLAIR

fresh-picked plums from the orchard

Storage:
Freshly picked ripe plums have a silver, powdery bloom and should feel firm but not hard. Store ripe plums in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, if not completely ripe, store at room temperature to soften.

What to do with glut

Make jam, poach in a sugar syrup and bottle or stew into a compote.

  • Preserve:

Asian plum sauce

900g plums, halved, seeds removed
¾ cup cider vinegar
½ cup Chinese cooking wine
1 small onion, chopped
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp Chinese five spice powder
½ cup brown sugar

1. Place all ingredients, except sugar, in a large saucepan. Simmer on medium heat for 30 mins. Add sugar and simmer for another 45 mins, until thickened.
2. Set aside to cool slightly. Discard cinnamon sticks and star anise. Using a hand blender, blend until smooth. Strain sauce.
3. Fill sterilized jars and seal. Refrigerate once opened. Use as a marinade for pork fillet or in stir-fries.

Makes 3 cups

Asian plum sauce recipe

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under harvest
Posted on 1st December 2010

cook | plums

By MANDY SINCLAIR

Plum and almond tart recipe

Plum & almond tart

½ cup plain flour
½ cup polenta
¼ cup caster sugar
75g butter, chopped
2 tbsp iced water
thick cream, to serve
almond filling
75g butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg
¾ cup almond meal
1 tbsp plain flour
6 plums, halved, stone removed

1. Place flour, polenta, sugar and butter in a food processor. Process until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add water and pulse, until dough forms a ball around blade. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and bring dough together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30mins.
2. Preheat oven to 190C or 170C fan. Lightly grease a 12 x 35cm loose based, fluted, loose based flan pan. Press dough evenly over base and sides of pan. Chill for 5 mins.
3. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add egg and beat well. Stir through almond meal and flour until combined. Spread over tart shell. Top with plum halves.
4. Bake for 35-40 mins, until crisp and golden. Serve warm with thick cream.

Serves 10


tip ….
To reduce time use 2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry to line flan pan. Blind bake for 15 mins then continue with step 3.


try this ….
Plum & chocolate pizza
Preheat oven to 200c or 180C fan. Sprinkle 2 tbsp demerara sugar over 1 store-bought pizza base. Top with 4 halved and stoned plums. Scatter over 2 tbsp chopped dark chocolate and bake for 15-20 mins, until base is crisp and golden. Dust with icing sugar and serve in wedges with ice cream.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under cook